KUALA LUMPUR – A Member of Parliament from Johor is all excited about the possible entry of the Shinkansen, Japan’s world-famous bullet train system, in Malaysia amidst its ongoing strong bid to win the contract to build the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High-Speed Rail (HSR) project.
Anuar Manap, the MP for Sekijang, said the benefits of the HSR would go well beyond cutting drastically the travelling time between the two countries but also the economic spillover effects such as employment and huge bounties for Malaysia, especially the southern region.
“The economic spin-offs to Johor especially will be tremendous and the proposed three stops in Johor along the route, namely Muar, Batu Pahat and Johor Bahru, will further open up the potentials of these areas just like what we can see at Shinkansen stations in Japan,” he told Bernama.
But the equally important aspects to consider in adopting a public transport system are safety and efficiency for which Japan has an impeccable record, he said when asked about the aggressive marketing via local newspaper advertisements, billboards and the electronic media by the Shinkansen.
“For the last 50 years, the Shinkansen has achieved a zero fatality record and we all know that Japan is one country that places the highest premium on safety, technology and efficiency as the core value,” said Anuar.
Tenders among international bidders for the HSR, which is estimated to cost around RM50 billion, are expected to be submitted by the middle of this year and the successful bidder due to be known by year-end.
The HSR, Southeast Asia’s largest ever infrastructure project, when operational by 2026 shall reduce travelling time between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore to just 90 minutes from four to five hours now.
Anuar said he was also very encouraged by Japan’s offer of equity participation to local companies to partner in the venture.
“Given that rail infrastructure is a new industry in Malaysia, I am sure local companies would want to participate in this new venture which will not only provide new business and investment opportunities but also job creation.”
He also spoke of the exciting opportunities on the education front with Japan’s announcement that it would set up centres for training and excellence to produce skilled local workforce to run the hi-tech system at two Johor universities — Universiti Teknologi Malaysia and Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia.
“This has never been done before and we need such technology even more now because besides the HSR, Malaysia is also developing the East Coast Rail Link and the Mass Rail Transit. So, the focus on this is absolutely necessary and the choice of the two universities is a perfect one,” he added. – BERNAMA